Speech by Mr Charles Lee (Chairman of Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd) at the 2010 HKAF Kick-off Press Conference

October 14th, 2009

Friends from the media, participating artists, members of the Hong Kong Arts Festival Committees, and friends from the arts and business communities, thank you for joining us here today.

I am proud to introduce the 38th Hong Kong Arts Festival 2010, which will feature top international and local talent, continuing our tradition of diversity and excellence. We revisit and reinvigorate traditional arts and classical pieces; and also invest in the creation of new work, which will be our future heritage. On the subject of heritage, I am sure you are all aware that earlier this year, Cantonese opera was officially recognised by UNESCO as a form of intangible cultural heritage. I want to congratulate everyone who has worked so hard to preserve and popularise this traditional art form. Their efforts have gained international recognition. We are therefore especially pleased to present, together with the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong, a very special set of Cantonese opera performances as the Festival Opening for the 38th HKAF.

The Festival's wide range of excellent programmes compliments Hong Kong's international status, enhances the quality of life for residents and attracts visitors. Also, the HKAF continues to explore different types of performance venues, presenting performances in unconventional spaces, to enhance the audiences' experience. The Festival acknowledges and thanks our main subventing organisations – the Hong Kong SAR G'vernment's Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust – without whose great support the Festival could not take place. In addition, we deeply appreciate the generous support of our corporate sponsors, foundations and donors; as well as the contributions of many organisations and individuals.

I would also like to thank the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Government's Information Services Department for their help.

Our budget for the 2010 Festival is just under $70 million. We have received a subvention of $17.18 million from the Government through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust will continue to support three pillar programmes with a donation of about $9 million. The Festival hopes to raise approximately $12.8 million through sponsorships and donations, and another $29 million through ticket sales.

We will continue to offer half price tickets through our Student Ticket Scheme to attract young audiences, and make performances and events available to students in our Young Friends Scheme.

As you will see, the 38th HKAF offers a wide range of very attractive programmes. We thank you once again for your support and look forward to seeing you at the HKAF in 2010.

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